China's next 'bright, beautiful' 'folk singer' First Lady will 'dim lights for previous counterparts'
One prominent figure missing from the 18th Communist Party congress is China's First Lady-in-waiting, Peng Liyuan, who has a higher profile than previous presidential spouses.
Known to the Chinese for her career as a folk singer, Peng Liyuan's fame has long eclipsed that of her husband, China's next president, Xi Jinping, which may be one reason she has been keeping a low profile.
Liyuan, 49, a civilian member of the army's musical troupe and charity worker, is not China's typical First Lady.
"If this were the West, one would say [Ms Peng] has the perfect requirements for being a leader's wife: beauty, stage presence, public approval," one party intellectual said, adding: "But things are different in China."
According to the Independent, some have suggested that Peng, who was appointed UN Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/Aids, and took part in an anti-smoking campaign with the Microsoft founder Bill Gates earlier this year, may be the woman to change the precedent.
Lin Chong-pin, a professor of international affairs at Tamkang University in Taiwan, said that having a 'bright and beautiful' wife gives Xi an advantage over previous leaders, describing her as a 'PLA [People's Liberation Army] major-general and a singer whose appearance on the international arena will dim the lights for all her previous counterparts'.
Peng has certainly been forthcoming in her praise for her husband, discussing their relationship in an unusually candid style.
"When we first met, I felt in my heart that this is the ideal husband of my dreams - straightforward and honest and thoughtful," she said.